You are viewing our free articles. To view our subscriber-only content, please sign in or sign up for a free two-week trial!

The Buzz

22 Apr 2021


State regulators green light Pacific Gas & Electric’s whopping $7.5 billion ratepayer-backed bond proposal to cover its 2017 fire liability. The tab soars to $11 million when adding in the interest, which PG&E promises to repay over 30 years but with no guarantees. Consumer advocates are appalled. One calls the decision “reprehensible.”

A new issue crops up at PG&E’s problematic Diablo nuclear plant's Unit 2, forcing it offline...

[more...]

New Issue at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Raises Specter of Energy Crisis

22 Apr 2021


A new problem has surfaced at the troubled Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant Unit 2, forcing it offline again this week. The 1,150 MW unit has suffered four crashes the last several months because of ongoing problems in the unit’s electric generator. Those have occurred since a $100 million rebuild in 2019.

“The current work involves adjustments to the cooling system within the main electrical generator and is not related to the earlier vibration issue,” Suzanne Hosn, Pacific Gas & Electric spokesperson, wrote in an April 21 email to Current...

[more...]

The Buzz

15 Apr 2021


State energy regulators pull a fast one and decide not to vote on a safety certification for Pacific Gas & Electric that their Wildfire Safety Division granted. Local power and ratepayer advocates, who have urged the California Public Commission to deny PG&E's certification, are livid. The commission does vote to step up its oversight of the utility’s fire mitigation work, as expected.

The CPUC also approves San Diego Gas & Electric expanding its program to install EV chargers in poor communities and workplaces...

[more...]

CEC Okays Big Green Energy Grants, More Diesel Backup Looms

14 Apr 2021


The California Energy Commission approved $73 million in grants for clean energy projects, ranging from advanced communications within batteries for fast electric vehicle charging, flexible demand response, to green microgrids.

The five commissioners also moved closer April 14 to voting on two more big diesel backup generator projects at data centers. The decisive vote on whether to exempt the generators from state permitting hasn’t been scheduled yet...

[more...]

The Buzz

8 Apr 2021


A week after a national report found that the City of Los Angeles could be powered fully by renewables by 2035, the City Council gives SoCalGas’ Playa del Rey underground gas storage field the thumbs down. It’s a gesture welcome by clean energy advocates but holds little clout. Environmentalists call on the city council to put its money where its mouth is and mandate all electric construction to slash natural gas use...

[more...]

The Buzz

1 Apr 2021


Changes wrought by the pandemic upend the legislative session, once again. After little action on the committee hearing front for weeks, bill hearings are getting back on track. See the list of bills being taken up in the Assembly and Senate energy committees in this week's Juice column.

California Community Choice continues to grow, as predicted. More than 200 cities and counties were served by the alternative electricity providers as of April 1...

[more...]

The Buzz

25 Mar 2021


State utility regulators scale back increases in gas fired power in their new decision seeking emergency supply and load reduction resources the next two summers. The private utilities are ordered to add at least 1,000 MW to meet demand during extreme heat, preferably with storage. But the California Public Utilities Commission's second emergency plan okays paying for diesel backup in the event of excess demand, largely impacting disadvantaged communities...

[more...]

FERC Keeps Diablo Closure on Track, PG&E Seeks to Delay Possible Ratepayer Relief

23 Mar 2021


Federal energy regulators shot down a petition aimed at stopping the upcoming retirement of Pacific Gas & Electric’s 2,240 MW Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. The complaint by Californians for Green Nuclear Power also targeted the California grid operator and other agencies. It asserted that by allowing the plant shutdown the entities failed to protect the bulk power system, in violation of the Federal Power Act and Natural Gas Act...

[more...]

The Buzz

18 Mar 2021


The California Public Utilities Commission will vote on an emergency proposal to beef up demand side resources to avert summer blackouts next week. Its energy action this week is limited to okaying Pacific Gas & Electric’s community microgrid program launch.

After vigorous sparing, federal regulators approve evaluating a gas project’s greenhouse gas emission impacts for the first time. Requiring grid operators to allow a mix of distributed resources to participate in their markets also is approved...

[more...]

FERC First: Greenhouse Gas Impacts of a Gas Pipeline Evaluated

18 Mar 2021


Federal energy regulators took the unprecedented step of requiring an analysis of the greenhouse gas impacts of a gas pipeline certification. They also voted to remove market barriers to distributed energy resources during their March 18 meeting.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Rich Glick said the vote to consider greenhouse gas impacts into decision-making removes the “blinders” the Commission has been wearing to requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and Natural Gas Act...

[more...]

The Buzz

11 Mar 2021


Lawmakers express diametric views as to which electricity resources are reliable and affordable during a U.S. Senate Energy Committee hearing.

The board of the Western Energy Imbalance Market approves a trio of market changes to help avert avoidable supply crunches when summer temperatures soar in and outside California.

Utility regulators across the country seek to resolve the dilemma of unpaid utility bills that have spiked during the pandemic...

[more...]

Unpaid Utility Bills Soar, as Does Need to Protect Black and other Vulnerable Ratepayers

11 Mar 2021


Private and public utilities across the country are grappling with the pandemic-driven surge in unpaid utility bills. In California alone, arrearages from last February through December exceeded $1 billion for the private utilities, more than double pre-pandemic levels.

“Clearly the energy crisis was already staring us down before the pandemic,” Gabriella Sandoval, The Utility Reform Network director of strategic investments, said...

[more...]

The Buzz

4 Mar 2021


A California Public Utilities Commission proposal seeks 7,500 MW of additional resources starting in 2024. Of that amount, 2,000 MW would be non-fossil. The resources are to make up for the closing Diablo nuclear plant and old inefficient gas-powered plants. But it is much more than meets the eye.

East Bay Community Energy and OhmConnect team up to use the latter customers’ negawatts to reduce EBCE’s peak demand when prices and pollution are high...

[more...]

Offshore Wind Power Coming to California

1 Mar 2021


Offshore wind power is heading the Golden State's way, first to serve the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, a panel of energy experts at a California Community Choice Association webinar said Feb. 26. This renewable technology has already gained favor in Europe, Asia, and on the East Coast of the U.S.

The Redwood Coast authority project is expected to be operational as early as 2027. It will supply 120-150 MW of wind power from floating turbines that will be moored about 25 miles off the coast of Eureka...

[more...]

The Buzz

25 Feb 2021


The 2020 and quarterly earnings of the parent corporations of the four investor-owned utilities are a mixed bag. Annual net income for Edison International and PG&E Corp. drops while fourth quarter earnings rise. Sempra Energy's reported income goes the opposite direction.

While utility leaders sing the praises of increased investments and revenue to analysts, economists, and ratepayer representatives warn that ever-rising rates will be the undoing of equity and clean energy in California...

[more...]

Rising Rates Drown Equity and Decarbonization

25 Feb 2021


The burden of continually rising utility bills will derail California’s decarbonization work if left unaddressed, regulators, economists and ratepayer advocates warn. The rising costs are bearing down on struggling customers who’ve been hit hard by pandemic-driven job losses and sheltering at home.

Higher bills undermine California’s equity policy goals and jeopardize the state’s clean energy work, Ed Randolph, California Public Utilities Commission Deputy Executive Director, said during a Feb...

[more...]

SCE Ratepayer-Backed Bonds for Fire Costs Save Million$

23 Feb 2021


Southern California Edison issued $338 million in securitized bonds to cover part of its wildfire capital expenditures on Feb 17. The bond offering closed Feb. 24. It is the first utility to issue what will be billions of dollars of mortgage type, ratepayer-backed bonds to recover fire mitigation and other costs under new state laws.

SCE issued three tranches of AAA-rated bonds backed 100% by ratepayers, with an overall maturity of 23 years...

[more...]

The Buzz

18 Feb 2021


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chief calls the multi-day power outage in Texas a "humanitarian crisis." FERC is looking into what went wrong during the unusually icy conditions. It urges politicians, the media, and others to not speculate on the cause of the loss of power.

Soaring demand in Texas,

frozen power plants, and massive outages, impact California. Frozen gas wells in the Lone Star State cause natural gas prices in Southern California to soar...

[more...]

JUICE: Solar + Storage Is Rising

16 Feb 2021


Making energy from the sun a more versatile resource by pairing it with storage technologies is gaining momentum as the grid evolves and prices fall.

Storage is “at the same point in the growth curve that PV was at circa 10 years ago,” Bernadette Del Chiaro, California Solar and Storage Association executive director, said. Of the approximately 1.3 million residences equipped with photovoltaic solar systems, about 15%--or 30,000, include battery storage...

[more...]

The Buzz

11 Feb 2021


The ever-growing tab from months of unpaid utility bills will soon come due. Who gets saddled with that debt, currently $1.15 billion, remains to be seen? The California Public Utilities Commission will look at repayment options.

Unpaid bills of $1 billion and climbing gets dwarfed by the $15 billion in additional spending the private utilities plan to make under their 2021-22 wildfire mitigation plans...

[more...]

error

Please share California's Energy Policy news source with your friends